Index

DATE=5/4/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=IRAN / ELECTIONS (L-ONITER) NUMBER=2-262002 BYLINE=DALE GAVLAK DATELINE=TEHRAN CONTENT= VOICED AT: /// EDS: POLLS OPEN AT 9 A.M. LOCAL, 0430 UTC /// INTRO: Iran is holding a second round of elections (today/Friday) to fill 66 of the 290 seats in its new Parliament. Reformers who support President Mohammad Khatami were the big winners in the first round of voting, three months ago, but they are still short of the two-thirds majority they need to convene the new Parliament. Dale Gavlak reports from Tehran. TEXT: Iran's parliamentary elections in February gave a landslide victory to pro-reform candidates. Over 225 seats were decided then in favor of reformers allied to President Mohammad Khatami, who won over 75 percent of the total vote. But some results were annulled by Iran's hard-line Guardians' Council, the election watch-dog. The same body is still sitting on [withholding] announcing the results from Tehran, where votes are being recounted. It was initially believed that reformists won all but one of 30 seats in the capital, but conservatives filed complaints about the accuracy of the count. Today Iranians are heading back to the polls to vote again in places where the results were indecisive. President Khatami's reformers need a two-thirds majority to convene Parliament. They are eight seats short. The country's most prominent opposition leader, Ebrahim Yazdi, explains the importance of the vote. /// 1st YAZDI ACT /// If they approve [the voting results in] Tehran, [it] means that then immediately after[wards] -- next month, in June -- the new Parliament could convene. But if they don't approve the other[ election result]s, then the new Parliament will not be able to convene, because they [the reformists] don't have the two-thirds majority required by the law. /// END ACT /// Many observers believe Iran's hard-liners are angling not to have the (Sixth) Parliament even open, but Mr. Yazdi does not think they will succeed. /// 2ND YAZDI ACT /// Altering some results is possible, but [as] to preventing the convocation of the new Parliament, I think that is not possible ... although some people may try to do it. /// END ACT /// The Guardians' Council's cancellation of some first- round election results brought protests and arrests around the country. The town of Damavand, outside of Tehran, had its results annulled. People there are furious. They say that although their pro-reform candidate clearly won, the conservative incumbent managed to get the vote cancelled, leaving them without a representative to the new Parliament. (Signed) NEB/DG/WTW 04-May-2000 15:22 PM EDT (04-May-2000 1922 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .